Physiotherapy in children under five treatments are indicated when there is some factor that may affect the child’s early development.
Child physical therapy involves treatment of infants and children with pathologies requiring functional re-education linked with motor development and the learning of movement. “In a traditional way, has been through treatments in neurological diseases (such as multiple forms of infantile cerebral palsy, congenital torticollis, neuromuscular diseases…);” anomaly of character trauma and orthopaedic (such as congenital malformations of the foot, or scoliosis); rheumatologic processes; “in problems of respiratory (such as cystic fibrosis or asthma in children) and, in general, in all those diseases that limit the child’s relationship with the environment”, detailing squeaky Raquel, Professor of the Department of physical therapy, University of Seville.
In these cases, treatments are designed to restore the damaged functions and guide the child during its engine development with the stimulation psychomotor and necessary neuromotriz, and the usual techniques are respiratory physiotherapy, stimulation, psychomotor skills, postural treatment methods, or functional bandages.
When to go to a child therapist?
Adults increasingly turned more to the help of a physical therapist, but we do not always think in these professionals to solve children’s problems. Therefore, usually the pediatrician that suggests parents are put in the hands of a child therapist. “The individual treatments of physical therapy in children under five years are indicated when there is a risk factor that make the child vulnerable during their early development, such as fetal distress, being premature, etc.” But also when there is evidence of retardation in the acquisition of motor skills typical of the age, or functionality on any of the devices. Without ignore that completely healthy children also benefit from the work of the physiotherapist”, explains Noelia Sáenz, Member of the Spanish Association of physiotherapists.
Child health promotion and prevention
Pediatric physical therapy also fulfills a key role in the prevention of health problems, especially when used from a very early age. “In mild conditions that they do not compromise the development of the child, such as infant colic and sleep disorders, more importantly addressing the symptoms. In these cases, manual therapy relieves quickly discomfort if you are constant in the sessions”, says Noelia Sáenz.
In healthy children, physical therapy helps to enhance their psychomotor development, your muscle strength, its stability and its movements.
Child or pediatric physical therapy includes a wide range of interventions, which in many cases have to combine according to the needs or pathologies of each baby, but that should always be performed by a physical therapist specializing in Pediatrics. You will learn when the most common treatments are indicated and child health problems solved:
- Respiratory physiotherapy. Unknown years ago, it is a set of techniques more and more necessary to cure or prevent the most common respiratory infections in young children, such as bronchiolitis, pneumonia, asthma, or the continuous accumulation of mucus. This therapy is based on establishing a good breathing pattern for a good oxygenation of the body, and the drainage of secretions to help clean these paths which, in the worst case, may be collapsing even part of the lung. Respiratory physiotherapy is essential in preterm infants to cure or prevent infections and excessive use of drugs.
- Neurofisioterapia. It is indicated in children with brain damage of any kind, and also in babies which detects a delay in its neuronal interconnection. If not turn, do not crawl, or not creeps, when he had to have started to do so spontaneously, physiotherapy can be a solution.
- Physical therapy in traumatology. Oriented to treat injuries caused by accidents, as well as vertebral deformities, congenital or caused by childbirth, to any type of muscle shortening, such as torticollis.
Physical therapy in healthy children
Child physical therapy is also indicated for improving the quality of life of any child, as it helps fully healthy children to enhance their psychomotor development, your muscle strength, its stability and its movements, improving all stages of growth. In this sense, solve the problems of the infant, the infant irritability, colic or improve their way of eating, are the main reasons that lead parents to put in the hands of a child therapist.
“From the University of Seville are carrying out studies on the effectiveness of the infant in infants aged between zero and six massage months, obtaining significant results in improving the clinical picture of colic that, for us, includes the decrease of crying, physiological fluidity that supposes the Elimination of feces and the expulsion of gases, and gastric reflux control.” This is a common health problem very posed an important expenditure for parents in products which, in rare cases, have a definitive effect on Elimination of colic,”says the Professor of the Department of physiotherapy at the University of Seville Raquel squeaky.
Sensory and tactile stimulation improves the communication between the nervous system and organs of the baby.
“There are studies that point to infant massage causes a series of physiological and organic change that benefit the baby, so that they improve the basic functions of the body, promotes sleep and encourages relaxation, as well as assume an improvement of the emotional bond between parents and children,” confirms squeaky Raquel, Professor of the Department of physiotherapy from the University of Seville , which summarizes the benefits of child physical therapy in six points:
- On the nervous system: sensory and tactile stimulation accelerate the process of myelination and improve communication between the nervous system and organs.
- On the endocrine system: massage promotes the release of adrenocorticotropin, which in turn causes the release of corticosteroids, causing the Suppression of immune responses, which regulates stress through relaxation and, therefore, favors certain learning processes.
- On the immune system: the body’s defenses, are favoured since a situation of greater peace of mind improves the balance of the immune system.
- On the respiratory, circulatory and gastrointestinal system: the massage is beneficial because extends the functional capacity of the respiratory system, enriching the oxygenation of the blood and facilitating secretions. In addition, in situations of colic, gas and constipation, infant massage decreases pain.
- On the development and maturation: the massage improves the motor development of baby help your body schema construction, and improving the quality of their movements and the acquisition of new positions. Moreover, it encourages the psychological development of the child favoring the care, self-esteem and learning.
- On affectivity: the promotion of affective links is also a fundamental dimension in the use of infant massage which, like releasing, approach, accompanying and listening function, is very important in healthy children, but without a doubt, takes on a special dimension in babies with some type of damage, dysfunction or disability.
Contraindications of childhood physical therapy
Provided we put in the hands of an expert in child physical therapy, there is no contraindication to carry out such treatment. “We do not know studies that demonstrates that physical therapy is harmful,” says Raquel squeaky. However, there are situations in which should not use this discipline, as in the case that the child suffers pathologies such as cancer, acute inflammatory rheumatism or recent trauma, since it is unadvisable to physical therapy to prescription. Out of these diseases, you always have to evaluate the general condition of the baby since, for example, when you have a fever or diarrhea it will be better to postpone the meeting for another day.
Physiotherapy and osteopathy children are not only compatible, they complement each other.
While it’s totally different disciplines, osteopathy and physiotherapy are technical complementary and sometimes difficult to separate. “Child osteopathy is based on movement, and is any mechanical dysfunction that there is in the body, whether structural, visceral, Genitourinary or cranial; even should include injuries caused by an emotional mechanism”, confirms Raúl Guzmán, Chief of the service of osteopathy, Vass clinic in Madrid.
The combination of both therapies and, above all, the global approach of baby, allow success in most cases, since “in a same child will combine in a multitude of cases, such as for example the torticollis, spinal scoliosis, clubfoot, neurological injury, etc”, detailing Guzman, who says that “they are not only compatible, they are complementary. In many cases, if the professional osteopath does not work with a physical therapist, or vice versa, the honest is derived at the different stages of therapy to make it as complete as possible.” The work of the child therapist is part of a multidisciplinary approach, along with speech therapists, neurologists, pediatricians, pulmonologists or psychologists, which, regardless of the problem of child, aims to obtain the maximum independence of this.
“Physiotherapists can treat children of any age and all its development. However, and unfortunately, this is not usual; It normally turns to it when there is a serious problem of base. In other countries such as Sweden and Germany the physiotherapist is the gateway in the first levels of primary care. Luckily, this philosophy is changing, and today the parents, who have more information, request physiotherapeutic care in a more frequent and varied, although it tends to be on its own initiative. For us, it would be ideal to improve physical therapy in primary care, Pediatrics is a key area in this first level of care to citizens”, clarifies squeaky Raquel, Professor of the Department of physical therapy, University of Seville.
Physical contact through massage helps to strengthen the attachment of the baby with his parents.
Put in the hands of a physical therapist does not mean that the role of parents is out of the game; on the contrary, because experts agree that parents are the great allies of children physiotherapy specialists. “Babies need physical contact as means of natural relationship, as it is necessary for their physical, psychological and cognitive development as well as countless studies show. Physical contact through massage helps to strengthen the attachment with parents and encourages safer children,”said Noelia Sáenz, Member of the Spanish Association of physiotherapists.
This expert explains how parents should do a massage your baby: “the massage should always be a positive experience, and so we will look for the time in which the child is receptive to this type of contact. We create a warm atmosphere, nice quiet, paying attention to the child do not run cold. A good idea can be massage before or after the bath. We warm by rubbing our hands, and it will not insist or it will tighten any body area. You can perform without cream, or also use a moisturizer, always without alcohol, since rapid evaporation would feel cold to the baby. We will place your child face up on us (if necessary will cover it with a blanket or towel), slide our hands from the chest to the shoulders and arms to the hands and from the chest to the belly and legs, covering its entire body surface; We will then perform the same routine lying face down. We will finish in the face and neck, ending with a tender hug. No it should last more than 5 minutes, to avoid the unpleasant hypothermia and relaxation of sphincters”.
How to cure colic infant at home
Under a good professional indication, massages at home may also have a curative motivation. It is the case of colic infant, a very common problem that dads can be solved with a little practice. With the heel of your hand turn in the clockwise direction, drawing a circle to help strengthen the digestive system. In case of constipation, the Professor of the Department of physiotherapy from the University of Seville, squeaky Raquel, advises “making small circular movements up the path of the large intestine, i.e. on the right side of the pelvis to ribs, then cross, and finally download from the left rib cage to pelvis”.
While it is still a discipline unknown to most families, child physiotherapy is a key tool that children grow up in harmony and vitality. Heat, tenderness and security from the hands of a professional, but also those of parents, are in many cases the best medicine for improving the health of the baby.